Recorded: 30 May 2003
Yes. But I mean it’s a complex change. But, yes, I think students genuinely realize that genetics is something which is worth studying. And it’s an exciting area. I think before we rather thought that genetics was something that was done by somebody who was studying fruit flies, and it was distant from life. But something like the genome project which is genetics done on us. And people understand what they are. Its self interest and self obsession.
So the students really come in right now with actually quite sophisticated understanding. They understand what recombinant DNA is some of them. So they come in with quite sophisticated understanding, and that was not really the case fifteen or ten years ago. Human genetics was an unbelievably obscure area of science for a long time. Really very, very peculiar. The human gene mapping meetings were just extraordinary.
It was science done by democratic vote. You know, where does this piece of DNA belong? And people would vote on it. And that’s just changed, out of all recognition.
Peter Little is a bioinformatics researcher, professor of medical biochemistry and the head of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He received his Ph.D. working with recombinant DNA under Ed Southern and Peter Walker at Edinburgh University. In 1976, Little cloned a human gene – the second time this was ever accomplished.
Little’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of gene expression, and genetic variation as it pertains to the regulatory regions of the genes. He has hypothesized that there are two types of genetic variation that alter gene expression. His lab has also created advanced techniques for testing genetically influenced transcript variations.
He comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory regularly for genome meetings and symposia.